by Brian Nadeau
July 11, 2018
Closing Week at Belmont means Saratoga is soon to be upon us, so let’s try to add the Spa bankroll by taking a look at Belmont’s Friday Pk5. Whereas in the past I’ve put together one caveman ticket on a small-scale budget, going forward I’m going to try and present a bit more of an in-depth play that will utilize backup horses and tickets, while painting a broader picture of a suggested play.
*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 36 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 12pm Friday for an update. ***
Race 1: 3upfm 14k N3l at 1-mile
It looks like a potential match race between #3 PAULA’S PISTOL (4-5) and #5 DARIA’S ANGEL (6-5), and you should be able to lock up the race by using them both. I’m not going to try and separate them, but I do fancy the latter, as she’s drawn outside the speedy former, and will therefore be able to dictate to her.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 5,3
As mentioned, there will be no backups here, as none of the three others gals seem remotely close to being able to pull off what would be a major upset.
Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): NONE
Race 2: 3upfm NYB 40k/N2X at 6 furlongs on the inner turf
Pace makes the race and there appears to be plenty of it here, which is why #6 DRIVEN BY SPEED (5-2) looks to be in a great spot, as she can settle and make a run, like she did two-back. Yes, the layoff is a worry, but if Pletcher is running her here instead of waiting for the Spa, you have to think she’s ready, and those bullet works say as much. Yes, #2 KREESIE (6-5) just won a stakes, but those were against 3yo fillies only and it was at 7 furlongs, so I’m not sure her deep closing style will be as effective going 6 furlongs, hot pace and all. Yes, she’s an A, but don’t let that ML fool you, as she’s more like 9-5 in here.
Pk5 A horses: 6,2
I don’t think she’s on the same level as the top pair, but #5 ELOWEASEL (5-1) is another who will like the pace and could get first run on the two A’s as well, so she’s a must-use in some way, shape or form. This looks like a formful Pk5, with very few longshot plays, but just maybe #4 ITSINTHESTARS (12-1) is one of them, as she needed her comeback off a December layoff, has a solid stretch run on her day, and lures Rosario, who is the best finisher on the circuit. I’m going to be stubborn here and only use the off-the-pace types, while playing against the speeds #1 Baby Boss (8-1) and #3 Royal Inheritance (9-2), but note that if one of them scratches, the other becomes the controlling speed and a definite A.
Pk5 B horses: 5,4
Race 3: 3upfm 25k claimer at 1-mile
I’m going to play against favored #1 Anna Rae (8-5) on top, even though she’s won two in a row and figures, because the class dropping duo of #2 MY WON LOVE (2-1) and #3 JUST GOT OUT (5-2) get some much-needed relief after facing tons better and will relish this group. The former should be favored, as she’s held her own against eons better of late and has a tactical edge too, but the latter loves a mile (17-7-5-2) and won’t be too far off early either.
Pk5 A horses: 2,3
As for #1 ANNA RAE (8-5), give her credit for climbing the ladder and winning her last two, but this is a real acid test today and, aside from her track/distance win here last time, she’s painfully slow on paper, so you have to think regression comes into the equation today.
Pk5 B horses: 1
Race 4: 3upfm NYB 40k MCL at 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf
This looks like a race where you’re allowed to be a bit creative and try to beat the favorites, and that’s what I’ll do with #3 SILVERETTA ROAD (5-1), who was overmatched in her turf debut last time but now drops from the MSW ranks, has a ton of upside, and should only improve off that trial run. The MSW drop will also help #8 SMART AND SASSY (5-2), who has been well-beaten at that level but finally gets a group she can contend with. I’m not in love with #7 SINGLE MISSION (2-1), who is a big underlay at this price, but she was a close 3rd at the level last time and would be no surprise.
Pk5 A horses: 3,8,7
It’s tough to separate #6 FANCYCASE (6-1) and #1 CRATER RIM (6-1), as they finished a nose apart when 3-4 at the level last time, so they both get used here, though the former did get a big boost by drawing much better than the latter. Both will need to improve to win this but aren’t far enough out of it on paper to not be used in some fashion.
Pk5 B horses: 6,1
Race 5: 3up NYB 25k claimer at 6 furlongs on the inner turf
It looks like #8 CANARSIE KID (5-2) is a single in the finale, as not only is he the best horse, having been against much tougher of late, but he drew a perfect attack post for his speedy style and catches a field without a lot of early lick. It also helps that his two biggest rivals (see below) are lacking in early foot and at a big tactical disadvantage.
Pk5 A horses: 8
The two biggest rivals are #5 EXCLUDED (3-1) and #9 MISSION COMMAND (3-1), who also have been facing better and figure on their best, but the former never wins and the latter has zero speed, so it’s tough to think they deserve equal billing with ‘Kid.
Pk5 B horses: 5,9
The main A ticket is 2x2x2x3x1 for $12, and that’s our starting point. But by adding in our B horses in with the A’s in the other legs, we can get more coverage and allow for some margin for error too. As you’ll see below, the backups tickets are a more cost conducive way of getting added coverage, without breaking the bank; if we played both the A’s and the B’s together, the ticket (2x4x3x5x3) would cost $180, which essentially makes the stronger opinions the same as the weaker ones, whereas this is a much more reasonable $65. I’m also an advocate of playing you’re A ticket for $1 (or more), so you capitalize if you handicap it out of the park.
Main Ticket: 5,3 with 6,2 with 2,3 with 3,8,7 with 8 = $12
R2 B Backup: 5,3 with 5,4 with 2,3 with 3,8,7 with 8 = $12
R3 B Backup: 5,3 with 6,2 with 1 with 3,8,7 with 8 = $6
R4 B Backup: 5,3 with 6,2 with 2,3 with 6,1 with 8 = $8
R5 B Backup: 5,3 with 6,2 with 2,3 with 3,8,7 with 5,9 = $24